Nigeria’s Low Economic Productivity Linked to Shortage of Women Engineers


Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The immediate past president of the Federation of African Engineering Associations (FAEO), and one-time president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Balarabe Shehu, has attributed Nigeria’s low economic productivity to shortage of women in the country’s engineering science sectors.

Mustapha, stated at a workshop in Abuja on the promotion of engineering among women in Nigeria and Africa, that the percentage of women in engineering in Nigeria has remained very low despite the huge population of women in the country.

He explained that this development had a direct impact on the economic productivity, and technological advancement of the country, considering the number of women who could have taken up engineering science related professions and subsequently contribute to the country’s development.
“In general, science, engineering, and mathematics are subjects students are reluctant to go into, talk less of females, but to be honest we are not far away from what obtains in other countries including Europe and Asia.

“The percentage of women in engineering is not much in Nigeria. There are efforts to make sure women are encouraged to go into sciences and engineering because of the importance of engineering to national development,” said Mustapha.
He further explained: “In terms of development, we have to say we are missing because the percentage of women in our population is almost 50 per cent, and when there are few women in engineering science, it means there is a lot of them that are almost doing nothing and perhaps not into any profession.”

“If we have less number of women in the engineering science, it means the productivity of the country will be low. We are not saying everybody would have to go into engineering and science, but you know the progress of a country is determined by the level of infrastructure development in that country, that is why participation in engineering and sciences is a yardstick in measuring a country’s productivity,” he added.

Similarly, the chairman of the committee for women in engineering in FAEO, Mrs. Valerie Agberagba, who presented a statistical report on women in science and engineering in Nigeria, Rwanda and Malawi, noted that there were factors comprising family dispositions, lack of motivation and role model, poor instructional methods, and poor career counselling in Nigerian schools, that have contributed to the low turnout of women engineers in the country.

Agberagba, explained that the statistical report showed that female science students who achieved outstanding results in mathematics in Nigerian schools all had private coaching or tutorial supports, and that career counselling was non-existent for most students especially those in senior secondary school.